Album Reviews

Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavendar Bridge

(Domino) UK release date: 21 January 2008

It’s the same old story: boy meets boys. Boys form band. Band take unfunnypunning band naming to astonishing levels. Band burst onto ‘scene’. Sceneadopts band despite the fact that band aren’t actually very good. Bandrealise this fact. Band disband. One particular boy in band gets over bandby coming back as acoustic singer/songwriter.

How many times have we heard that before? James Blunt, DavidGray, James Morrison, all served their time in the oldart-punk-dance-noise rock scene before finding their true calling assensitive types with heartfelt lyrics and a demeanour you could take hometo granny. Dev, you ain’t impressing anyone.

Ok, maybe you are. Because whichever way you slice it, this rebirth isnovel. But hey, so was Not a Penny More and look how badly that turnedout.

Fortunately for all, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge is better than bothJeffery Archer and Test-Icicles. Faint praise? Well no. It’s asweet, brave, unexpectedly good record. Personal to the point ofvoyeurism, subtle in a fashion you can’t quite believe.

Plus, as reincarnations go, it’s somewhat cool. Sort of a reverse Dylan.From electric to unplugged. From play ‘really fucking loud’, to ‘play soquiet you don’t wake a dormouse’. You can almost hear the faint shoutsof “Judas” from The Old Blue Last.

Does that make Dev Hynes the Shoreditch Dylan? Maybe. Even if RobertZimmerman never told us to “wake up and smell the semen”. He’s even got Emmy The Great to shoulder the Joan Baez role.

But it probably doesn’t. Hynes isn’t a protest singer, he’s too scared,too confused, too baffled for that. Because some of the mostinteresting moments on Falling Off The Lavender Bridge are some of themost bi-polar.

Like Midnight Surprise. Ten or so minutes, from the duvet cowering “Oh,fuck, I think she just saw me” too the aforementioned ‘rise and get a loadof this bodily fluid’. It sounds like it should be horrific, but the wayit unfolds and twists, through lilting pedal steels and specks of keys,make it rather wonderful. One of a number of vignettes that make itinevitable you want to continue digging through the turmoil of Hynes life.

Galaxy Of The Lost is all Elton John pianos and irradiated lemonbitterness. All To Shit is a wistful, and foul mouthed, lullaby, and theuber wry Devil Tricks For A Bitch could raise a smirking grimace at aSmiths convention.

So maybe we weren’t expecting it, but Falling Off… is an unqualifiedsuccess. Smart and funny. Bold and layered. Witty and affecting. Roll onthe next reinvention. Provided it’s not a Test-Icicles reunion.

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Lightspeed Champion – Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You
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Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavendar Bridge
Lightspeed Champion + Eugene McGuinness @ 100 Club, London